Welcome to GSL

This login is for the website administrators.

Please use the member login link in the main navigation bar to access the members sections.

Member Login
Lost your password?

IL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE… Gun Owners got played

March 16, 2017
Democrat Kathleen Willis, sponsor of the bill to allow your mother-in-law to take your guns away.

Democrat Kathleen Willis, sponsor of the bill to allow your mother-in-law to take your guns away.  Daily Herald photo.

Gun grabbers from across the nation have taken up residence in the Illinois General Assembly.  Tuesday proved a bad day for gun owners in Illinois.  In short, we got played and more is coming.  First, I'll give you Todd Vandermyde's take, then my remarks.

Todd Vandermyde's take:

So people want to know what happened yesterday.

3 bills moved out of the Senate sub-committee on firearms. The military application bill, states attorneys' carry and dealer licensing.

States Attorney carry is strictly to allow them to carry from their car to the courthouse.  That's it.

The two carry bills were called and passed unanimously out of the full committee. Sen. Harmon failed to check his roll call before hand and only in the middle of committee figured out that he didn't have the votes to pass the bill out of committee even with a substitution.

Todd's referring to substituting an anti-gun senator for a pro-gun senator on the committee.

On dealer licensing, we expect them to wait and extend the deadline and substitute one of the pro-gun votes out to get it to the floor or move it to another committee. We will see it again and we will see a floor fight.

But what should be taken note of, was after the full committee voted on the two carry bills, Senator Raoul made an announcement that the full committee had just unanimously passed two concealed carry bills.

I'll add that Senator Kwame Raoul had a big, big grin on his face while he said that.  Now, in fairness, Kwame is a genuinely funny guy.  He cracks jokes regularly that are laugh out loud humorous.  Unfortunately, I can't help but think his laugh at this point was at our expense.  Read on…

Stop and think about that. Even Don Harmon voted for a couple of carry bills. Now before you go patting yourself on the back thinking we have won some great feat and persuasion, let me interject a little bit of reality.

They didn't do this out of the kindness of their hearts or because they have seen the light. They did this to give them selves cover. They took the two most innocuous "pro-gun" bills and passed them out so we could no longer say they have been holding everything of ours up and moving on anti-gun bills.

They did it to give some of their vulnerable democrats cover so they can vote for some "carry" bill and then vote for gun control and have it both ways.

They choose two bills that affect the fewest amount of people in this state.

The States Attorney bill wasn't ours. And since Illinois Carry made the military bill a priority, the Senate Dems latched on to that.

The fact is we have been played. And we will hear about these two great pro-gun bills advancing and how even handed the senate is for the rest of session. While at the same time they work to move two major anti-gun bills, dealer licensing and Lethal violence orders to the floor for votes. Their two signature issues in Illinois and one of their new national moves.

Some how I don't see parity in the quality, equality nor significance of the bills being advanced so each side "gets" something.

In the mean time, we'll be playing defense.

We have just learned that Senator Harmon is going to make a move on SB1985 the lead ban bill.

He is pulling rank on the chairman to get it called, gonna be a close vote in committee.


File your witness slips in opposition to Harmon's lead ban bill here.

My take from spending all day Tuesday on the front line in Springfield:  It's decidedly unfriendly in Springfield now.

We had the narrowest of margins in the Illinois House and given the current state of affairs, I am not confident we still have a majority of votes.  That is, not without gun owners making a serious and concerted effort to pound the phone lines of House Democrats in the Chicagoland area. 

Right now, the squishies are getting hammered by the antis.  Those jelly-spined legislators are leaning antigun at the moment.  Frankly, these national groups are pouring a LOT of resources and energy into Illinois.  They are using social media and other tactics we've used over the years to "out lobby" us.  It's taking a half-dozen state and national groups to overtake gun owners in Illinois.  We're that good here.  At the same time, a loss is still a loss for us.

In the Illinois Senate, we had a comfortable two to three vote edge.  One of our guys has cancer and he's got it bad.  He's been getting treatments and looks a little rough around the edges.  I wish him the best and pray for a good outcome, but my prayers for Ruth Bader Ginsberg have been as-yet unanswered as well. 

Another, Senator Scott Bennett (Democrat – Champaign/Urbana & Danville) has flipped from an NRA A-rated Democrat to just another anti-gun Democrat vote.  Add in a couple of other squishy Democrats from the suburbs getting pounded by the Moms and assorted other gun grabber groups, and we're probably a couple of votes shy there too.  Again, this is unless gun owners make a serious and concerted effort to pound the phone lines of Senate Democrats, including Scott Bennett.  I don't mean a few dozen calls.  I mean shut their offices phone lines down.

Todd alludes to the "grand bargain" of sorts. 

Senate Democrat leadership chose these two bills to advance out of Cullerton's Judiciary Committee on voice votes.  Why?  Because they allow Democrats to tell constituents that they didn't blockade all the "pro-gun" bills.  These two bills that impact a thousand people or so at most, instead of passing something more meaningful like allowing carry on public transportation.  Removing the prohibition on carrying CCW on public transportation could help as a hundred thousand Illinois residents on a nearly daily basis.  …Compared to a few hundred non-resident military members serving temporarily in Illinois getting their CCW.  

In a perfect world, having both is a no-brainer.  This isn't a perfect world.  This is Illinois.

Downstate Democrat senators have felt the heat Guns Save Life has mounted publicly for weeks now.  In all fairness, others have mounted the same pressure privately.  Specifically, that John "Stonewall" Cullerton is blocking all pro-gun bills from getting to the Senate floor for a free and fair vote.

Again, from Todd:

The fact is we have been played. And we will hear about these two great pro-gun bills advancing and how even handed the senate is for the rest of session. While at the same time they work to move two major anti-gun bills, dealer licensing and Lethal violence orders to the floor for votes. Their two signature issues in Illinois and one of their new national moves.

Some how I don't see parity in the quality, equality nor significance of the bills being advanced so each side "gets" something.

This session lasts through January 2019. 

So, they "give" us two bills to get onto the floor.  One was a bill to allow States' Attorneys to carry from their car to their courthouse.  Guns Save Life is neutral at best to this bill as we don't think Illinois needs another "privileged" class.  As much as we support law enforcement and prosecutors, we don't believe their lives any more sacred than those of our loved ones to put it kindly.

If it's good enough for SAs, then it's good enough for anyone else with a CCW.  Install weapons lockers or other provisions that any CCW can use, including attorneys, states attorneys, judges and CCW license holders can use.  We could support that all day long.

Another bill that GSL does support would allow non-resident military members to apply for and to receive an Illinois CCW license.  Mike and Valinda Rowe of Illinois Carry are whipping (promoting) this bill in an effort to get it passed.  Kudos to them for their success, but it comes at a high price.  Specifically, giving Democrats an out in the 2018 election season.  Senate leadership will claim how fair and magnanimous they were with these two bills, while cramming all manner of gun control down our throats.


Valinda Rowe

One thing Illinois Carry does well is track legislation and organize their members and others to file witness slips on legislation.  They are relentless in pursuing even the bills that are merely "red meat" bills that will go nowhere, but sound good to constituents.

Personally, I found it curious that the Rowes did not file witness slips against the gun dealer licensing bill, or the lethal violence order of protection bill. (Update:  The ILGA website now shows that they did file slips in opposition to all three bills.)   But they did submit slips (and Valinda offered testimony) on the military carry bill. 

What's more, while the NRA-ILA, Guns Save Life, ISRA, and others were all standing shoulder-to-shoulder providing a united front in opposition at the Lethal Violence Order of Protection bill hearing, Illinois Carry was conspicuously absent at this critical committee meeting.  Even ISRA's Richard Pearson was there in person, fresh from spending hours at the emergency room the night before and still in exquisite pain, stuck it out for a long day.  Illinois Carry's registered lobbyists Mike and Valinda Rowe?  They were nowhere to be found.

Todd is right.  We have been played.  Democrats are laughing.

Now we have to pick up the pieces and keep fighting.

21 Responses to IL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE… Gun Owners got played

  1. Scott on March 16, 2017 at 10:18 am

    "Another bill that GSL does support would allow non-resident military members to apply for and to receive an Illinois CCW license."  What's this about?  There is already a provision for non-resident licenses. 

    • Matt on March 16, 2017 at 10:49 am

      The provision for non-resident licenses is very weak. Only states with "substantively similar" laws to Illinois qualify. There are only two other states whose laws Illinois considers "substantively similar." Additionally, which states those are can change. I recall reading that someone's non-resident permit was revoked because Illinois decided that their state no longer qualified as similar.

    • Alpha Co. on March 16, 2017 at 10:58 am

      I was thinking the same thing. Why can't they just apply for a non resident card? Maybe I'm missing something. Or better yet, how about fighting for reciprocity of other states permits instead. I'm not a fan of any permission slip process for a constitutional right, but that is a bigger battle. And this new "violence" order is a much bigger threat. I was talking to a liberal in MN and he was talking about this. It is a movement to go national once it cleared IL. It will be the new way to attack gun owners rights. No surprise I'm sure. He told me to watch how fast liberal's attack gun owners in their families. He even said it was a scary thought and didn't support it. I have to tell you, this isn't a school yard fight folks, this is war. Literally. It's time to treat it as such. Especially with the fact that the liberals are continuing to fight securing our nation. Only a matter of time! I only hope Trump will come out swinging for gun rights. We need national reciprocity! Or constitutional carry. I know I'm dreaming, but hey, dream big right! Otherwise we will be waking up to a real nightmare and possibly no way to fight back! 

    • Manny on March 17, 2017 at 7:37 am

      As Matt stated, only states "substantially similar," which is defined on the IL State Police Firearms Services Bureau (ISPFSB), may obtain a non-resident CCL. The ISPFSB website previously made available the survey conducted of all the states, detailing how "similar" they are to IL; however, they must have removed it from the site. Currently, residents from only four states qualify for non-resident license. Last year HI, NM, SC, VA, were "substantially similar." As of today only AK, MI, TX, and VA qualify. Further, a blog on IllinoisCarry.com stated seven non-resident CCLs from NM and SC were revoked for whatever reason (http://illinoiscarry.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=65126#entry1074995).

      • morsel on March 17, 2017 at 9:39 am

        As of today only AK, MI, TX, and VA qualify.

        The four "approved" substantially similar states are AR, MS, TX, and VA.  Nothing significant changed since the original review in 2013/2014 in any of the statutes for the 3 states removed and the 3 that replaced them.

  2. jboch on March 16, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Illinois effectively issues zero licenses to non-residents.  I think the real number is about 2 dozen to residents of about 4 states. 

    Military members are forced to either become Illinois residents or they cannot obtain a CCW while serving lengthy deployments in Illinois for all intents and purposes.

    This bill would fix this.  Until now, Illinois Democrat leadership in the House and Senate have opposed this, citing all manner of excuses.  Now suddenly, Cullerton sends it out of committee to the full Senate.


  3. morsel on March 16, 2017 at 11:27 am

    In 2015, the Senate said "no" to fixing the nonresident military carry gap, as GSL reported at the time: "SHAMEFUL: Illinois Senate Democrats treat non-resident active duty military members as second-class citizens"


    I've heard that at the time, Sen John Cullerton promised to make it happen the next year.

    And he did: a similar initiative passed through the Senate in 2016 (SB 553), with nearly unanimous Senate support.

    It would be nice to see this succeed in 2017.  ~20,000 nonresident military members stationed here can't get a carry license without it.

  4. Bill1 on March 16, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Are there enough votes to stop HB 2354?

    It seems like we need a major effort to stop this Bill! 

  5. Harold on March 16, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    On April 3,2017 I am voting to move from Illinois. Our house is sold and closes on that date. I have lived in Illinois for 73 yrs. but we can't take anymore of the Illinois way off doing business.

    • Bill1 on March 16, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      I dont blame you for leaving. I too would like to move but I'm stuck here in H E L L

      Sad part is i remember Illinois before the FOID card days. This was a nice State to live in People helped each other and were friendly. You could walk into any local  business that sold guns lay some money on the table and walk out with a gun. At the same time crime was low. The State was just a better place to live than it is today.

  6. Chuck Vandercamp on March 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm


    I found it odd that you claim that Mike and Valinda Rowe didn't file witness slips on those two bills so I played around with the ILGA website and found you can use filters to look for someone. 

    If you are referring to HB 2541 and HB 2354 they did indeed file witness slips in opposition.  

    Was it two other bills you are referring to?



    • jboch on March 16, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      I stand corrected.  I too searched using that function.

      I could have sworn that I didn't find their name in oppo to any of the three bills as we waited for the bills to be called on Tuesday.  I wasn't the only one either.

      I will correct the article as the record now reflects their slips entered.

      Thank you.


  7. old buzzard on March 17, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Some instruction or a link from this site could help more people fill out witness slips.

  8. Hugo on March 17, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I read this over at Illinois Carry today:



    This comment will probably get deleted as I know GSL leadership is trying to keep the peace and play nice.  Since they won't defend themselves, I'll put in a good word for them. GSL does more good things on a bad day than most gun rights groups do on their best and I think it's high time someone speak up on their behalf.


    [John B. writes:  Thank you for your kind words, but you’re right Mr. Hugo:  We want to keep the peace and I’ve deleted most of your comment.  I will encourage you and others not to read too much into comments at that IC message board as the members there – good people – simply get half the story at best there.  Illinois Carry leadership has instituted a defacto prohibition on posting anything supportive of GSL, its leadership or its activities.  For instance, when was the last post there promoting a monthly meeting of GSL anywhere in the state?]

    • Bill1 on March 18, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      I have a question; Is there a deal beening made between Illinois Carry and the Democrats to allow HB2354 to pass so they can get their (IC) pet legislation passed?

      I want to see HB2354 because its bad legislation and i hope plenty of others do as well

      • Bill1 on March 18, 2017 at 1:21 pm

        I really need to spell check my comments.

        I wanted to write;

        "Is there a deal being made between Illinois Carry and the Democrats to allow HB2354 to pass so they can get their pet (IC) legislation passed"

      • morsel on March 18, 2017 at 8:18 pm

        I can't imagine IC EVER making a deal with the devil, which is exactly what you are suggesting.  The Lethal Order of Protection and Dealer Licensing bills are terrible legislation.  IC has taken firm stands against both, and include them consistently in the calls to action that John referenced above.

        Don't give up ground in one area to gain in another.  That's downright foolish.

      • jboch on March 19, 2017 at 8:51 am

        I am with morsel.  I don't think they've got a deal with the Dems.  I think they might have thought the game in front of them was checkers when the others were really playing three-dimensional chess.  As Todd wrote, we got played.  Dems latched onto this .mil CCW bill and the prosecutors bill that none of us wrote or promoted as a public face-saving way to break their developing reputation as blocking all pro-gun legislation – something that was set to hurt downstate Democrat senators in 2018 races (and beyond).

        This is what happens when the pro-gun side is not a unified front under the leadership of Todd Vandermyde and the NRA. 

        We get pyrrhic victories like this. 


      • Bill1 on March 20, 2017 at 1:40 pm

        If you say no deals are being made then i beleive you John.

        Thank you for your reply!

        i just needed to know

  9. Larry Morse on March 19, 2017 at 9:40 pm


    I've known you casually for some time.  I've noticed that some postings have a certain "flavor".

    Do you write under pseudonyms on this board?

    Larry Morse

    • jboch on March 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      I write most of the local origination text for GSL posts.  Some are cut from TTAG too.  No pseudonyms.  I don't usually tag stuff "by John Boch" as it says my name on the post.